In what has been perceived as a slight against Arsene Wenger, Monaco boss Leonardo Jardim, whose side saw off Arsenal in the last round of the Champions League, had this to say about his quarter-final opponents:
“Juventus are a better team than Arsenal. They are in the quarter-final of the Champions League and deserve to be there.
“Juve are a better team, it’s not complicated. They are top of their league.”
The Daily Mail, who reported the quotes, stirred the pot by placing them in the context of Wenger’s refusal to shake hands with Jardim after Monaco’s shock 3-1 first-leg win at the Emirates, before the Portuguese returned the favour following his side’s 2-0 home loss, which saw them through.
However, the evidence suggests Jardim’s comments were loaded with truth, which doesn’t bode well for the visitors’ 14/5 chances of victory away to Massimiliano Allegri’s men.
First off, the Bianconeri are practically peerless at home, losing just once at Juventus Stadium since going down 2-0 to eventual winners FC Bayern Munchen at this stage of the 2012/13 Champions League.
You heard that right. One loss on the homestead in 53 matches stretching over two years, and it’s not as if they’ve been entertaining chumps.
This season alone, La Liga champions Atletico Madrid, Serie A chasers Milan and Roma, and Bundesliga powerhouse Borussia Dortmund have all left Turin winless, with the latter trio beaten.
Despite the Gunners’ strong home record over the past couple of campaigns, during which they’ve lost just twice on their own patch in the Premier League, Jardim and co will have been cheered by the chinks Arsenal revealed in their Emirates armour in 2014/15 prior to the last round.
Southampton saw Wenger’s men off without too much trouble in the Capital One Cup back in September, and Manchester United’s 2-1 win in north London two months later could have been worse if visiting forward Angel Di Maria had his shooting boots on.
Monaco exposed Arsenal’s infamous soft centre, but they’ll struggle to get much change from Juventus, especially with iconic Italy midfielder Andrea Pirlo given a fair chance of returning to the side after injury.
Striker Carlos Tevez bagged his 25th goal in 37 games so far this term for the Old Lady in their last home match, a 2-0 Serie A win over Empoli, and summer signing from Real Madrid Alvaro Morata has six goals in his last seven starts, notching in both legs of the 5-1 aggregate win over BvB.
They’ve only won one of four home matches in the competition to nil this term though, so backing Juventus merely to triumph at 8/15, or while both teams score at a top-price 17/4 with bwin, is the advice.